Want to Know if Your Doctor, Dentist or Hairstylist is Vaccinated? Here Are Tips for Asking.

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising even vaccinated people to return to mask-wearing in indoor public spaces located in areas with higher rates of coronavirus infections. This guidance — prompted by concerns about the rapidly spreading delta variant — may cause many people to worry about going to indoor places where social distancing is not possible, such as a doctor’s office or a spa, especially if they might have to take off their masks.

In these situations, they might be wondering, can they ask the potentially loaded question, “Are you vaccinated?”

“Not only do they have the legal right, but I think they have an obligation to their own health and safety to ask the question,” said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. “It’s an entirely appropriate and logical question to ask if someone is going to be in very close, personal contact with you: whether they’ve been vaccinated.”

It is not a violation of the oft-cited HIPAA federal privacy law to ask your doctor or dentist or other health-care workers, as well as people who provide close-contact services, including hair stylists, aestheticians, massage therapists and physical trainers, if they are vaccinated. In many situations, at least from a legal standpoint, “you can ask anything you want,” Gostin said. But, he added, it’s important to remember that “you can’t force somebody to answer.”

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